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Focus on Seed

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  • 1. BE ‘Well Dressed’ Brendan Dunne Teagasc Oakpark he foundation for the T production of high yieldingcereal crops starts with sowinggood quality, clean seed of the Sun and smiles at the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) open day at Backweston.chosen varieties. Pictured are Ken Daniels, Power Seeds Ltd., Paul Ward, President ISTA, Shay Phelan, Teagasc and Sean Gaule, Dept. of Agriculture & Food. Many of the cereal diseases that areproblematic on crops during the growingseason also have a seed-borne phase.These pathogens are responsible forseed rots and seedling blights as well asthe smut diseases of the ears. Seed-borne pathogens are a constant threat tothe establishment and development ofthe growing crop. In wheat the main diseases transmittedby seed are loose smut and covered smut,the Fusarium group of fungi and Septorianodorum. In barley, as in wheat, thesmuts and Fusarium species are alsoseed-borne. In addition net blotch, leafstripe, Rhynchosporium and Ramularia Discussing cereal trial results at the Seed Trade Open Day are Dermot Rowan,can also be present on the seed. Drummonds Ltd, Roy Power, Seed Technology Ltd and Jim O’Mahony, Teagasc Continued on page 6. Open day photos by Noel Maguire INSIDE Valuable Crops Brome & Net Blotch Inspection in at Risk Wild Oats Problems Progress S p o n s o r e d b y I r i s h S e e d Tr a d e A s s o c i a t i o n ( I S T A ) .
  • 2. Serious Fusarium Problems Anticipated this AutumnThe Irish Seed Trade Association Tetrazolium test results with a level of The Seed Testing Station has requestedmet with Dept. of Agriculture & 94% + can be relied upon as an that ALL SAMPLES SUBMITTEDFood officials during July to plan indication of final germination results. SHOULD BE SCREENED. This will .for the forthcoming harvest in the However, in wet weather a number of enable them to compare test results,light of the extreme wet weather factors make this test less reliable. assess the impact of the weather and toconditions in June and July. advise on the interpretation of results. Firstly, the test does not indicate theA high level of fusarium in Winter Wheat level of fusarium and its likely effect on Treatment should also control botrytis.and Spring Barley and, depending on germination. Secondly, whilst a Most infected seeds will be thrownthe species of fusarium, in Oats is Tetrazolium test will give an indication of out by the combine leaving infection on the surface of other seeds, whichanticipated. Winter Barley is not usually the level of sprouting, one cannot tell is controlled by the treatment. Therebadly affected. how these sprouted seeds will perform is no reliable way at the point of intake on germination. of visually assessing seed forBased on past experience, dormancy fusarium infection.can also be a problem and efforts to Mechanical damage also needs to bebreak the dormancy will delay the results factored in so we need to be extremely Given the year that is in it, care shouldof tests being released. The Seed cautious in the interpretation of be taken to check to ensure that seedTesting Station is taking steps to reduce Tetrazolium test results this year. vigour does not reduce over thethe extent of any potential delays. Indeed, it may be best to wait for the months between harvest and planting. dressed advisory germination results So the best advice to farmers is to useUnder normal weather conditions, before bagging seed. only Irish certified seed.Bunt, fusarium, leaf stripe, loose smut, net blotch, septoria are all seed borne diseases which could destroy this crop. page 2
  • 3. Net Blotch ince the introduction of strobilurin The ear may also be infected but lesionsS chemistry in 1996 net blotch has not been a major disease in barleycrops. However, the disease seems to do not usually appear. Net Blotch can reduce yield byhave made an unwelcome return in up to 40% and significantlymany areas this season. The mainreason seems to be associated with reduces thousand grain weight.disease carryover on trash/volunteers, Late season attacks will infectfacilitated by the restriction on autumn seed for following season.ploughing/glyphosate use. The mild,wet winter also favoured the survival Factors influencing severity of Net Blotchand spread of this disease. 1. Variety - see Department of AgricultureThe disease infects leaves, leaf sheaths ratingsand ears. The more severe the infection is 2. Trash/Volunteers - need stubbleon the upper leaves and heads, the cleanliness and good ploughing well ingreater the crop loss. The fungus advance of sowing to bury trashoverwinters on crop residue or seed. 3. Weather conditions - develops best inRain and wind will spread the infection high humidity/wet conditions/high Dr Simon Oxley, Senior Pathologist,from the residue. The high humidity and temperatures Scottish Agricultural College writing in thewarm temperatures during June 4. Rotation - disease carryover is more Irish Farmers Journal last June made thefavoured disease development and final likely following a barley crop following comments.sprays on barley needed to be robust to 5. Cultivation - minimal cultivation favoursprotect crops and reduce disease its spread “Seed borne infection of net blotch,carryover to next season. 6. Fungicides - The strobilurins (e.g. rynchosporium and Ramularia, and a run Modem/Comet) give 90% +control of mild winters, increases the chances ofThe main source of inoculum is infected some diseases carrying over from thestubble and volunteer plants. The WHAT OTHERS SAY previous season...”disease spreads mainly by airbornespores and rain splash. Andy Doyle writing in the Irish Farmers Rynchosporium remains a perennial Journal last June made the following threat and the presence of the disease onNet Blotch requires high humidity and comments. seed explains why growers can seewet weather to infect a plant and widespread infection appear literallydevelops faster at higher temperatures. “Net blotch can be a serious disease with overnight in January and February.This may explain why it may become potentially devastating consequences formost serious on the upper leaves and yield and quality… for many the Seed may well be a rapid method tohead in the height of summer appearance of net blotch on spring spread barley foliar diseases, including barley varieties this spring was a strains less sensitive to fungicide.Early symptoms appear as light green surprise…in general this very earlyblotches or brown spots on leaves; infection can be put down to seed Net blotch has increased in severity inthese enlarge into longitudinal brown infection by the fungus. This could have recent years. This may be partly due tostreaks, net-like in appearance. The happened at the end of the growing variety choice and warm summers butstreaks may be surrounded by a season in 2006 when some crops picked the major change has been the presenceyellowish or chlorotic border. up a bit of infection.” of resistance to QoI fungicides. Our picture courtesy ofO’Gorman Photography, shows harvesting in operation on a Tipperary farm. This farmer has a high yielding crop of valuable grain - he used certified seed. page 3
  • 4. 3 Good reasons to use certified seed NET BLOTCH RESISTANCE Samples of Net Blotch fromIrish fields have been found tocontain the F129L gene, whichdecreases its sensitivity toStrobilurin fungicides. This genehad been found in Belgium, Sterile brome is an expensive weed to control and difficult to clean from a grainFrance and Britain. crop. Resistant black grass, wild oats and Italian ryegrass are now widely distributed in England. Minimise the spread of these troublesome weeds by using Irish certified seed which is quality assured by DAFF and has been thoroughly GRASS WEED cleaned using modern hi tech equipment HERBICIDE RESISTANCE Resistance is widespread onthe world stage in at least 100different weed species.Resistant black-grass, wild oatsand Italian ryegrass are nowwidely distributed throughoutEngland. WILD OATS Some merchants are now Jim Druhan, Dept. of Agriculture inspector checking a certified seed crop of Spectrum Winter Barley near Tullowrefusing to take feed grain thatis badly infected with wild oats.Action is essential to curtail thelarge yield losses (over 50%where infections are high) andquality losses associated withthis noxious weed - whichmultiplies at an explosive rate.One wild oat plant/ha can resultin one wild oat plant/sq m afterjust four years in a wintercropping situation. Herbicidesare expensive and resistance towild oats sprays does exist. This photo of Loose Smut in a crop of Saffron was taken on a Kilkenny farm - infection can spread quickly to adjacent crops page 4
  • 5. The Value of Another Certified Seed Farmer’s Opinion Eamon Sweeney has 45 acres of winterTEAGASC CEREAL CROP COSTINGS wheat this season on his farm at Milltown near Termonfeckin, Co. Louth. Last year he had aVariable Costs excl. VAT (€/ha) 2008 crop of barley and has been using certified seed for the last 20 years. He is “very happy with Wheat Barley service from Drummonds Ltd and while price is always a consideration, quality is the most Winter Spring important issue”. He also has a herd of 60 +MATERIALS 520 308 commercial cows and supplies Glanbia.Seed* 57 62 Unlike some others Eamon sells all his grainFertilisers 227 135 at harvest time or later “to the highest bidder” and purchases only compound feed for hisSprays: herd. High quality dairy nuts are purchased from Herbicides 50 36 Glanbia (1-1.5 tonnes are fed per cow) and he is quite satisfied with the quality. “I am positive Fungicides 140 60 about the future for both cereals and milk and plan to expand both enterprises” says Eamon. Insecticides 34 15 Growth Regulators 12 0 On this farm all replacements are purchased, calves are sold dropped and an AberdeenHIRE MACHINERY 402 351 Angus bull from Michael O’Leary’s, Plough, Till and Sow 146 146 Gigginstown herd is used for easy calving and to add value to the calves. So it’s no surprise Spray 85 51 that on this well organised farm, certified seed Fertiliser Spreading 51 34 is firmly on the agenda. Harvesting 120 120 “When you buy from a reputable company with the expertise and facilities you can expectMISCELLANEOUS 68 42 to pay a little extra for a top quality product” Interest (7%) 23 9 says Eamon. “I don’t have to worry about wild oats in the seed -a big problem in this area or Transport (€4.5/Tonne) 45 33 cross contamination of the seed. As the oldTOTAL VARIABLE COSTS 990 701 saying goes you reap what you sow.”Tonnes to cover According to Eamon “Drummonds do a goodvariable costs 6.6 5.0 job checking certified seed crops… they are very particular – farmers would find it veryNet Price (€/Tonne) 150 140 difficult to do as good a job with their own seed. With certified seed the moisture isStraw (€/ha) 75 90 correct; crop is up to standard and you have a *(future seed costs will reflect current cereal prices) guarantee of quality so if there ever was a problem you have some comeback.” As can be seen from this Teagasctable the cost of certified seed is quitemodest compared with the likelyexpenditure on fungicides, herbicidesetc. Data from the National Farm Surveyover a 3 year period clearly shows thatwhile the top 25% of growers spendmore on (certified) seed their totalproduction costs are significantly lowerthan the bottom 25%. This is what onewould expect as those using certifiedseed will have a much lower bill forherbicides and fungicides. Certifiedseed costs around €2 per tonnebased on crop yield so it is anexcellent investment and thefoundation for a profitable crop. Eamon Sweeney tells his nephews Niall and Shane Brodigan that he is “delighted with this crop of Einstein”. page 5
  • 6. Protect your Crops with ˆ (continued from Effective Seed Dressings page 1) All cereal seed needs to have a suitable Brendan Dunne fungicide seed treatment applied to control Teagasc one or more of these diseases. Seed treatments have a wider application than the control of the seed-borne disease DEADLY Oakpark In the case of the latter two diseases most discussed above. They will protect the seedlings from soil-borne Fusarium. diseases !of the inoculum that will infect the growingcrop will originate on plant residues. Seed- A number of the products used as seed dressings have systemic activity and will ‚ ERGOTborne infections may introduce the • Poisonous to anybody or any also control foliar diseases, notably yellowpathogen, or races of the pathogen, into rust and powdery mildew in the young crop. animal that eats it!areas which were previously free of them. • May cause: Take-all can now be alleviated by Behavioural changes The smuts, which result in the grain in using Latitude seed dressing. While Abortion, Lamenessinfected ears being totally replaced by it does not provide complete control Convulsion, Gangrenefungal spores, are very visible in crops it can allow a profitable crop to be • Ergot infects all cereals andgrown for seed. There is a threshold for grown in a situation where previously 60+ grass speciessmutted ears in seed crops and seed crops it was not possible. Control of Ergotexceeding this threshold will not beapproved for seed. • Ploughing (15cm) Barley Yellow Dwarf virus requires two insecticide applications in the autumn to • Control of grass weeds There are four species of Fusarium which control the disease in winter barley. In trials • Seed treatmentsare important as seed borne pathogens. at Oak Park, seed dressings containing theThey cause pre-emergence and post- insecticide imidacloprid, were 70% as ƒ FUSARIUM SEEDLING BLIGHTemergence death of seedlings as well as effective at controlling the disease as foliar • Infected seedlings can be stuntedbrown foot rot of the stem base. In wheat, sprays. One spray is still required for total or killedSeptoria nodorum seed infection can result control, however this seed dressing wouldin distorted seedlings and seedling death. allow the grower leeway to delay this spray until late autumn – early winter. „ SEPTORIA NODORUM On barley, while crop debris is the major • Transmitted by both seed and cropsource of inoculum, seed-borne net blotch Bird damage, especially crow damage, is residuesand leaf stripe can result in weakening of a major problem on winter and spring • Seed-borne infection can causethe emerging seedlings and heavy infection wheat crops. In trials carried out at Oak seedling blightlevels on young plants. Park on both spring and winter wheat using Many seed-borne diseases are not easily undressed seed plant populations were …BUNT reduced by 60% -70% due to feeding by • Spores carried on seed surfacedetectable by the naked eye and, to crows. Seed dressings containing the • Rapid build up asaccurately determine seed health, fungicide thiram resulted in plant one bunted ear carries aroundlaboratory tests are required. These tests populations that were approaching theare carried out by the Dept. of Agriculture. 150 MILLION spores. optimum with a consequent yield increaseThey will also test home saved seed. of approximately 2.0 t/ha. †LEAF STRIPE • Seed-borne on the grain or in the Cereal Seed Dressings seed coatProduct Active Ingredients Crop • Capable of rapid build upAnchor Carboxin + thiram Wheat, barley, oats All soil and seed borne diseases esp. Fusarium, bird ‡ LOOSE SMUT control activity • Fungus infects seed embryo • Infection can spread from adjacent cropsBaytan F triadimenol + Wheat, barley, oats Foliar, soil and seed-borne fuberidazole diseases some take-all ˆ NET BLOTCHBeret Gold fludioxil Wheat, barley, oats Seed-borne disease control • Transmitted by seed and crop residues - a bigger problem in 2007Fungazi imazalil Barley Seed-borne diseases leaf stripe and net blotchJockey F fluquinconzole Barley Seed-borne disease, foliar diseasesJockey P fluquinconzole + Wheat Seed-borne and foliar disease prochloraz take-all controlKinto prochloraz + Wheat, barley Seed and soil-borne diseases, triticonazole seedling blightsLatitude silthiofam Wheat, barley Take-all, (applied with other dressings)Panoctine guazatine Wheat Seed-borne diseasesPanoctine plus guazatine + imazalil Wheat, barley, oats Seed-borne diseases, leaf stripe and net blotch page 6
  • 7. Disease Could DEVASTATE Your Crops• Bunt, fusarium, leaf stripe, loose smut, net blotch, septoria are seed borne diseases. Working together we can• Certified seed has kept these dangerous & expensive diseases under control. ensure that Irish cereal• It is irresponsible and unfair to use undressed or incorrectly dressed seed. growers and their valuable• Consider the extra cost of controlling weed grasses, sterile brome, wild oats etc. crops are protected from• Certified seed is properly cleaned and free of weed seeds and other impurities. dangerous seed borne• Certified seed is bigger, healthier, stronger and has better germination. diseases and more expensive• Why take unnecessary risks with your and your neighbours valuable crops? weed problems. HOME SAVED SEED - A FARMERS VIEWRobert and his son John grow over 500 acres of winter cereals-50% wheat, barley, oats and some oilseed rape in theKildare area. They have been using certified seed for the last 20 years because they reckon its better value than farmsaved seed or swopping varieties with neighbours.Prior to this they had used home saved seed but when they did their calculations and allowed for the extra costs incurredthere was no real savings to be made. According to Robert when you take into account the cost of seed dressing, croplosses due to cleaning and drying plus the extra work involved at a busy time any, savings made are minimal.Sowing early is important to them so “turnaround time is critical”. Certified seed is conveniently packaged, free oftroublesome weeds such as cleavers, wild oats and sterile brome which one cannot guarantee when using farm savedseed. Sterile brome is very difficult to clean out of seed and of course wild oats is a very expensive problem to deal withif seed is contaminated.This year Robert expects Fusarium to be a big problem in winter wheat and says that growers using farm saved seedshould have worries about its impact on seed vigour even when seed is dressed. So while certified looks moreexpensive per acre his son John says that it is actually works out cheaper per tonne of crop yield. page 7
  • 8. The EU has predicted that the 2007 cereal harvest will be 276 million tonnes or 1.6% below the average of the last five years. Heat waves and drought have had a detrimental effect in Central and Eastern Europe, while unseasonably high rainfall in the North Atlantic and North Sea areas has reduced potential yields in this region. Discussing market prospects at the Seed Trade Open Day Discussing the impact of poor weather on harvesting at the at Backweston. Pictured are Michael Higgins, Teagasc, Irish Seed Trade Association Open day are Des Slaughter, Donal Fitzgerald, Goldcrop, Donal Moloney, Glanbia Odlums Ltd, Paul Ward, President ISTA, Gerry Lohan, Dept Agribusiness and Nicholas Magill, Dept of Agriculture, Food. of Agriculture & Food and Tim O Donovan, Teagasc. Plant breeders ask for fair play Average cereal yields have increased by intellectual property rights of plant 2% pa over the last century-about half breeders by not paying royalties of this is due to improved varieties. due can expect to face the full Plant breeding requires a substantial rigours of the law. investment of financial resources and without royalties there would be no The Plant Variety Development Office incentive for commercial breeding. The Ltd. will initiate legal proceedings vast majority of farmers recognise the against those growers. Aside from need for new varieties. paying the accumulated royalties and hefty legal bill for both parties they may Farmers who purchase certified also suffer the embarrassment of seed or pay the royalties due on unwelcome publicity in the Agri media. home saved seed should not be expected to continue subsidising Teagasc also remind growers saving New Irish varieties are those who refuse to pay their fair their own seed that they have a legal critical to farm profitability share. Farmers who breach the obligation to pay plant variety royalties. Irish Seed Trade Association. M a r i n a H o u s e , C l a re n c e S t re e t , D u n L a o g h a i re , C o. D u b l i n . E-mail ista@fmco.ie ISTA – the Irish Seed Trade Association wish to thank the Dept. of Agriculture & Food,Irish Farmers Journal, SAC, Teagasc, UCD and trade personnel for photos used and technical information provided.